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Lancaster University Men’s Table Tennis First team have completed a season of unbridled success. The club claimed top spot and promotion from the Northern Conference 2a and hammered York in Roses to claim four points for Lancaster. They also navigated three rounds of knock-out table tennis to reach the final of the Northern Conference cup, only to lose 7-10 to York. All this was achieved despite losing Nick Milovsky half way in January after his Visa expired.
The league season began with Lancaster in imperious form. They put Liverpool, Manchester, Edge Hill and Sheffield to the sword in the best of 17 format, losing just five ties whilst winning 63. In all, the team won 87.5% of their league games, only coming unstuck against Manchester in the final league tie with the title already secured.
The cup run began with a bye, and in the quarter-finals Lancaster sent a powerful message to the other teams with a 17-0 whitewash against Newcastle University. The semi-final was also negotiated with relative ease as Liverpool were brushed aside 12-5. However, the final was to prove a step too far as York took full advantage of playing on home ground as they triumphed 10-7.
Roses was the final competition of the season for Lancaster and provided an opportunity for revenge against cup final opponents York. The four man team of Steve Arliss, Leo Ho, Lok Wong and Alasdair Fuller performed brilliantly on the day to claim of 10-6 victory overall. Third seed Leo was the star performer as he won all four of his games including a vital result against York’s first seed Frank Cheung.
SCAN Sports spoke to Alasdair Fuller to get his thoughts on all things table tennis. The second year student competed as fourth seed for Lancaster for the majority of the season and secured numerous victories against higher ranked opponents.
What was the highlight of the year for Fuller? “[The] Roses victory away at York – as far as I know that feat hasn’t been achieved by a Lancaster table tennis team for a long time and we won in a convincing manner as well.”
He also commented on what he felt the low point of the season was: “The loss to York in the final of the BUCS cup. Having not lost a game all season we were quite hopeful so losing the match was a bitter disappointment. It did, however, make the victory at Roses even sweeter!”
Next season promises to be exciting for table tennis at Lancaster. With the men’s firsts now in division 1a and improved facilities on offer in the new sports centre, it seems that table tennis can become a preeminent sport and provide continuing success.
For Fuller, next season carries the aim of avoiding immediate relegation following this season’s promotion. “Our main aim for next year is not to get relegated,” he said. “Having been relegated from the 1st division last year we know how high the standard is – most teams tend to have an England player!”
He added: “Regrettably, we are losing two of our best players for next year who have been fantastic players for the club. Lok Wong has been Vice-President for the last two years and has been absolutely essential. Also, Steven Arliss who has been President and BUCS captain of the table tennis club. Steve has been absolutely vital to the club for the last three years and is not only a brilliant player, but also put in many hours behind the scenes arranging our fixtures.”